Whether your idea of the perfect vacation is a history lesson, going to the theater, relaxing by the bay, indulging in good food or shopping 'till you drop, there's a small town for you. We wanted to find the best small towns across the United States, so we invited our readers to vote for their favorites. Now the results are in.
Click on each category below to see the full winners list.
Best Coastal Small Town: Ocean Springs, Mississippi
Unwind in one of the 10 best coastal small towns — Photo courtesy of ArtistheJourney // Getty Images
Known as the “City of Discovery,” the historic coastal town of Ocean Springs is the perfect place for visitors to relax and enjoy. After exploring downtown with its quaint cottage-like Main Street, artistic flair and small town appeal, head to the beach for a day in the sun. Stroll along miles of soft white sand, and find more tranquil stretches of beach for romantic walks or moonlight picnics.
Take a boat cruise and enjoy dinner and a magnificent sunset, or paddleboard, kayak or canoe along river bayous and through constantly developing natural marshlands.
Best Historic Small Town: Wickford, Rhode Island
These small towns are full of big history lessons — Photo courtesy of cmart7327 // Getty Images
Europeans first settled this Rhode Island community around 1637, and today it features one of the northeastern United States’ most significant collections of 18th-century dwellings, most of which are on their original foundations.
The Old Narragansett Church was established in downtown Wickford in 1707 and today stands as the oldest Episcopal church building in the northeastern United States. One of the area’s most visited historical locations is Smith’s Castle, built in 1678 by the son of one of Wickford’s earliest European settlers.
Best Small Town Cultural Scene: Clayton, New York
Clayton is packed with culture — Photo courtesy of Horizon Aerial Media
This New York community was first settled in 1822 and became a significant port for shipbuilding and lumbering. Many unique museums detailing aspects of Clayton’s history are in this area. That includes the Antique Boat Museum, with the most extensive collection of freshwater recreational boats in North America and the host of one of the nation’s oldest antique boat shows, as well as the Thousand Islands Boat Museum, a waterfront museum with a collection of antique watercraft and innovative exhibits.
Visitors can also enjoy the Thousand Islands Art Center, with an extensive 20th-century textile collection from North America and pottery and weaving studios.
Best Small Town Food Scene: Abingdon, Virginia
Award-winning Abingdon will keep you plenty full — Photo courtesy of Jason Barnette Photography
This walkable town in the Virginia Highlands has always had a lively food scene, and it just keeps getting better! Classics like The Tavern, 128 Pecan, Rain and Bone Fire Smokehouse offer great variety and top quality. Don't miss Anthony's Desserts, Foresta or Mamma Mia, either!
Best Small Town for Adventure: Savanna, Illinois
From hiking and mountain biking to kayaking and rock climbing, these small towns offer big adventure — Photo courtesy of AP Photo/The Telegraph Herald, Eric Hogstrom
“Savanna, hugging the Mighty Mississippi and along the Bluffs of the Driftless area in Northwest Illinois, is the starting point for 60 miles of bike trails – the Great River Trail – but it is also a favorite stop for motorcyclists,” says 10Best Local Expert Jacky Runice.
Best Small Town for Shopping: Frenchtown, New Jersey
From boutiques to farmers markets, these small towns are perfect for shopping — Photo courtesy of stanley45 // Getty Images
10Best Travel Expert Marla Cimini notes, “A fun town with a wide variety of fascinating, independently owned shops!” This walkable New Jersey town offers a quaint shopping district with a constantly changing selection of unique merchandise.
Congratulations to all these winning towns! Remember to visit 10Best.com daily to vote in our Readers' Choice contests.